INCENSED demonstrators have protested in St Albans this morning, in response to the Academies Bill being passed through Parliament.

Sandringham and Beaumont School pupils, as well as members of the Anti-Academies Alliance, gathered outside Ladbrookes in St Peter’s Street, determined to rally support against local schools bidding for academy status.

Campaigners fear schools which have registered interest will go ahead and apply for academy status after the legislation was given the green light on July, 26.

It was only last month the Review reported on a similar demonstration, involving Sandringham and Beaumont School pupils and the Anti-Academy Alliance, opposing the move.

And today was no different, as protestors used megaphones and leaflets to support their “anti-academies” message.

Neil Faulkner, member of the Anti-Academies Alliance and a former school teacher from Surrey, said: “Today’s demonstration is about trying to get as much support from the public as possible and ensuring our voice is heard.

“The overwhelming impression from demonstrating today is that people just don’t understand what it is all about.

“For ‘oustanding’ schools to opt out of local authority control, well to put it bluntly it is absolutely catastrophic.

“What we’re looking at is the privatisation of schools. Academies will be able to attract the cream of teaching staff and the higher achieving students and this in turn will have a huge knock-on effect for other local schools.

“They will be seen as ‘lesser’ schools, second rate, and for the students attending, it is a fact that if they start to feel second-rate, they will underachieve.

“Then there’s the fact that with schools converting to academy status, resources will be transferred away from local authority maintained schools. For example, for children with special needs education, this could mean that money intended to improve their schooling, will be redirected elsewhere.

“Our current schooling system is not adequate, school budgets across the country have been cut, but by no means are academies the answer.”

Henry Parkyn-Smith has just finished at Sandringham School, having completed his A-Levels.

As he handed out “anti-academies” leaflets, the 18-year-old said: “Although I have just left school, I still feel the need to protest today, I care about the state of education in St Albans.

“When it comes to ‘exceptional schools’ applying for academy status, well parents and students have simply not been consulted.

“While I attended Sandringham school it was absolutely fantastic, especially in terms of education.

“But as academies are funded by private enterprise or religious groups you have to wonder how teaching standards will be affected - what interest does big business have in school education.

“Academy status isn’t for St Albans – it will be detrimental to the other schools left behind.”

Academy schools were established in 2000 and initially formed to address the problem of failing schools.

More than 1,500 schools across England have bid for academy status which would mean stepping out of local authority control.

Despite the criticism the controversial move has created, many people have backed academies because of their greater freedom.